In the last verse of 1 Corinthians 12 (TPT) Paul tells us, “And now I will show you a superior way to live that is beyond comparison!”
This leads us into 1 Corinthians 13, “The Love Chapter,” which gives us a description of love, a tutorial for loving others.
The beginning verses of the chapter tell us that we can be extremely gifted and talented, have great knowledge and a large faith, but if we don’t have love for others, we are nothing. Let that thought sink in.
The Passion Translation goes on in verse 4 to say,
“Love is large...and incredibly patient.”
From my own relational failures I discovered that my capacity to love others is directly related to how well I believe I am loved by God. As we continue to grow in the comprehension of who He is and the magnitude of His love for us, we gain compassion and the ability to give love to others from His never-ending love.
On the other side of this verse, our “incredible” patience, or the lack of it, reveals and exposes what we believe about ourselves. Self-importance, our own pride, destroys relationships. An inflated view of one’s self and how things “should” operate becomes a driving force, often from insecurities and fears. Consequently, our impatience causes us to press and prod others, expecting more than what is given. I know this was true of me; just ask my family. I wanted things done my way and in my timeframe. How selfish and prideful of me. Do you identify?
Patience, a fruit of God’s Spirit, is the practice of waiting without complaining. It counters our pride. Patience is an offering of grace and mercy from a posture of humility, focusing on others above ourselves. It is the activation of restraint, power under control, willingness to wait, and deference of anger.
“Incredible” patience is developed in humbly and expectantly waiting for the Spirit of God to move in your circumstances without spilling a string of unkind words, without manipulating the situation, without focusing on yourself. Love, expressed by patience, takes the necessary time. It waits well. It listens.
Whether in response to annoyance, or enduring for a long-awaited hope, your level of patience reveals the depth, strength, and source of your love. Patience understands and believes that God loves you so much that He sees you, has everything in control, and is working all for your good and His glory, even when it seems impossible. In my own life, being patient with myself was the beginning of being patient with others.
If loving with patience is difficult for you, connect to the Source of true love. Ask for His power and ability to love others with patient expectancy rather than demonstrating your impatient expectations. Thank Him for being patient with you. Through His mighty love, you will become a patient person and your love will expand!
"With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience." Ephesians 4:2 TPT